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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Charleston, South Carolina » Vegetable Research » Research » Research Project #445172

Research Project: Screening Seeded and Seedless Watermelon Varieties for Resistance to the Whitefly-transmitted Cucurbit Leaf Crumple Virus (CuLCrV)

Location: Vegetable Research

Project Number: 6080-22000-031-031-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2023
End Date: Jun 30, 2026

Continue second year of experiments to determine if seedless and seeded watermelon varieties resistant or tolerant to the whitefly transmitted Cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV) infectious clones in growth chamber tests are also resistant under field conditions in Georgia under natural whitefly and disease pressure. Experiments based on FY22 funds are currently ongoing.

Researchers at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory, USDA-ARS in Charleston, SC have screened and identified several commercial watermelon varieties that have varying levels of resistance to the whitefly-transmitted cucurbit leaf crumple virus (CuLCrV). The watermelon varieties were screened using Agrobacterium infectious clones under highly controlled growth chamber conditions. Using this strategy, ARS researchers will continue to screen additional newer watermelon varieties. Researchers at Fort Valley State University will conduct field studies using select watermelon varieties that have been identified as resistant under controlled conditions in growth chamber studies. Conducting studies under field conditions with high whitefly pressure and natural source of CuLCrV inoculum will be critical to determine if the varieties identified as resistant or tolerant under growth chamber with infectious clones perform similarly. Whitefly pressure will be created by planting cotton earlier in the season which will help develop the populations. Adequate resistant and susceptible checks will be utilized under field conditions to monitor CuLCrV induced disease development. Disease development will be monitored regularly. At the end of the season growing tips from watermelon variety plots will be collected and sent to ARS in Charleston to quantify CuLCrV using digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR).